June 3:  St. Petersburg


John got the Boob Shirt for the ankle.  That was an easy one.

In the morning we headed out of the city a bit to see the fountains at Peterhof:

The Grand Cascade.

Grand Cascade and canal.

Grand Cascade and canal.  Yes, I did say "fountains" but everything except the Grand Cascade was shut off.

Reading Cyrillic is fun!  Most words on signs seem to be transliterations of English words--every other business is a САЛОН (salon).

Next we stopped at the Siege of Leningrad memorial, or more properly the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad.  There's an indoor area with artifacts, memorials and a film on the devastation suffered during World War II, known locally as the Great Patriotic War.  Most of the deaths in Leningrad were caused by starvation.

Sunken area with eternal flames.

The dates (1941-1945) cover the 900-day duration of the siege.

Our local Family man, Serge, had a lot of cool stuff for sale--books, shirts and vodka.  I ordered a Soviet hockey jersey for 10 and two 500-mL bottles of Stoli for 3.50 each.

Church of the Bleeding Savior.

Also known as Church of the Spilled Blood.

I'm fairly certain Culture Club had a song about the Church of the Bleeding Savior.

More misfortune:  On our way to Pizza Hut, pickpockets came up to Bushy and took his camera out of his zipped pocket.  That sucks.  That's the absolute worst thing to lose on a trip.  He became less interested in repeatedly asking "Who's got my wallet?" after this, and the rest of us became much more mindful of our belongings when walking the streets.

The whole time in St. Petersburg I had Sting's "Russians" in my head and often sang it out loud.  Matt played it after we entered Russia, though not right away, which temporarily disappointed me.

For some reason, our group couldn't get enough of The Bongo Song.

Before dinner we went to Serge's CD/DVD store.  Most if not all of the CDs were burned compilations with made-up album titles riddled with misspellings.  I think they were 3 apiece but thanks to KaZaA I have all the music I need already.

Dinner was at Mu-Mu, named after a dog who had a brick put on his neck and drowned (another Anna story).  Bushy was a few minutes late because he fell asleep on the coach and didn't come in with the rest of us.  Boob Shirt for sure!  He was said to have had 8 Skittles vodka shots before dinner, which perhaps contributed.  At dinner he split a bottle of wine with Nancy and had a few vodka shots with me.  Very impressive.  I had 2 Skittles shots, then a beer and 3 shots at dinner.  The abundance of alcohol and cleavage resulted in this discussion at our table:

Bushy:  (to me) Were you looking at Shelley's boobs?
Me:  They were looking at me!
Bushy:  Who has bigger boobs, Shelley or Kristie?
Me:  I think Kristie's been showing more cleavage over the course of the trip...
Bushy:  What about those puppies over there?  (pointing at K1 and K2; see next photo)
Biagio:  Hey K2, are you gonna whip 'em out?  Isn't that why they call you K2?

"Look at that, JR!  Puppies!"  Jerry Lawler would have been more impressed with the puppies in Novgorod and at the Generator bar.

Contiki rules prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the coach, but boarding with a existing buzz always makes for a fun ride.  Matt played some good drunken sing-along songs and I forget what they were.

Whatcha gonna do, when Bushymania runs wild on you?

A walletless Bushy gets ready to "pay for his optionals".

I made a note that I was enjoying this tour more than the first one, and I echo that note here.

It turns out that John was late getting back from the hospital yesterday because the Get Lost sheet that lists all our hotels had the wrong hotel listed for St. Petersburg.

I bowled part of a game tonight but we exceeded our time on the lane, so I went up and drank at the pool tables till 3am.


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